China pins hope on street vendors to revive economy

Domestic News

In an attempt to revive China’s battered economy and tame an unemployment crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 27 Chinese cities, including key metropolises like Shanghai and Chengdu, have announced plans to bring back street vending. This is a complete turnaround after many years of crackdowns on street stalls for “urban beautification.”

In an attempt to revive China’s battered economy and tame an unemployment crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 27 Chinese cities, including key metropolises like Shanghai and Chengdu, have announced plans to bring back street vending. This is a complete turnaround after many years of crackdowns on street stalls for “urban beautification.”

The large-scale initiative comes on the heels of Chinese Premier Lǐ Kèqiáng’s 李克强 visit to Yantai, Shandong Province a week ago, during which he talked to a string of street vendors, praising them as “the livelihood of China” and vowing to support their businesses. Since then, a growing number of cities across the country have responded to Li’s calls (in Chinese) with pledges and policies.

Major tech firms and other related businesses were quick to jump on the bandwagon. On Tuesday last week, WeChat announced that it had launched a new “firework” plan to help small and medium-sized businesses set up digital transactions. Wuling Motors, a car manufacturer, has begun to market a mini truck specifically designed for street vendors, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

However, authorities in Beijing rejected calls for allowing roadside stalls to return, calling them “unsuitable” for the city.

You can read more about the street vendor campaign on SupChina.